Mystery shopping is increasingly used by housing associations, local authorities, and other non-profit organisations to provide feedback on customer services. As well as being a cost-effective way of gaining insight into staff and organisational performance, it can also be a meaningful and valuable way to get service users involved.
We have been supporting Tower Hamlets Primary Care Trust’s mystery shopping programme through the design and implementation of a web-based mystery shopping application. The Trust’s programme involves paid mystery shoppers presenting a pre-specified scenario without disclosing their identity as evaluators. The mystery shoppers record details of their clinical and non-clinical experience in a structured form and feed this back to us using the web-based application, thus enabling us to provide the Trust with a range of reports summarising the findings. Use of the online database is proving to be a great platform for reporting across the Borough as a whole and for drilling down to identify and explore specific issues.
We are also involved in mystery shopping through our work with HouseMark. HouseMark has developed an excellent mystery shopping service that enables organisations to monitor staff performance against published service standards and identify and address shortfalls in service provision. The service focuses on four main areas (speed and greet, employee manner, voicemail elements and staff performance against pre-determined scenarios).
We particularly like HouseMark’s approach because of its emphasis on resident involvement and the development of a team of resident mystery shoppers. Recently we have helped HouseMark on projects with the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham and Valleys 2 Coast Housing Association.